There is a beautiful small quirky, slightly gnarled tree sitting in the middle of a magical grove of trees, on the Slopes at Rock Farm Slane, where our Glamping is situated. This tree has always struck me as a Fairy Tree and we have been decorating with the occasional ribbon ever since we first set up camp there last year. It is most likely to be a Blackthorn or a Wishing Thorn, as it is sometimes known in Ireland, (Draighean – Irish; Prunus spinosa – Latin). So it seems appropriate that we decided to tie our ribbons, make a wish for great things to happen on this beautiful piece of land above the River Boyne. It has also become the logo for Rock Farm Slane.
I have always been awe-inspired by trees, right from when I was a small child scrambling up whippy ash trees at the bottom of the garden to my current status as an obsessed farmer planting as many native species as I can each year. So I was overjoyed to read about the Bretha Comaithchesa or Judgements of Neighbour, whose written records date back to the 8th Century AD and form part of the Brehon Laws of medieval Ireland. These judgements categorize and protect a series of 28 native trees the “Chieftains” of which are offered the greatest protection of all, with punishments equivalent to that of causing harm to a chieftain. If only such veneration had been made of these noble native trees in the interim years before we all became more ecologically minded and sensitive to the fantastic presence of the few trees that remain steadfastly around us.
We chose the first seven Airig Fedo, The Cheiftan Trees or ‘Nobles of the Wood’ as the names for one of each of our seven yurts and shepherds huts, as a mark of respect to the old ways and as a promise to the future to revive this ancient tradition of conservation. Thus 5% of the profits generated from this new ecotourism enterprise will also be invested into restoring these great nobles to this wonderful site. We have some of the whips heeled in and ready for planting in the next couple of weeks around each designated unit and we look forward to sharing their progress.
However what has been most elating is the fact that the Blackthorn was also sometimes considered to be a chieftain tree. So the gnarly old tree that survived the alterations to the surrounding landscape by the Georgian designers of the Slane Castle estate in 18th Century, as well as their penchant for imports of horse chestnut and sycamore, was in fact a chieftain in disguise. Now that’s a reason for having it as our emblem.
Below is a short summary of the Seven Nobles and the importance in Old Ireland:
- Daur – Oak
- Coll – Hazel
- Cuilenn – Holly
- Ibar – Yew
- Uinnius – Ash
- Ochtach – Scots Pine
- Aball – Wild Apple
As you’ll see from our Book Now now page for the Yurts and Shepherd’s Huts we have named all of them after each of the 7 noble trees and we have planted a selection of each of the trees around or near (in the case of the Yew trees) the yurts and huts so that over time the existing grove will be replaced by a grove of native trees. We hope this to be one of the many positive actions this eco glamping offering brings to this beautiful sloping field at Rock Farm.